Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Come in, for He has gone out for you

It is hard to find safe places in these troubled times. Our enemy isolates us, and these days it is easy to curl up in distraction, in entertainment, or behind our own self-made walls.  How awful it is to bear burdens in secret, to sink quietly and alone when they become too much.  


“Do not neglect meeting together,” God tells His people.  Where two or three are gathered, there He is in the midst of us. Jesus invites us into community because we need community. It is not good for us to be alone- so Jesus goes out.


See Jesus’ heart for the outcast, for the one broken by sin! The sin that breaks the outcast- is it her own or just a result of the evil in this world? Does it matter?  Jesus does not wait for us to untangle these things. Simply, Jesus goes out.


Jesus goes out to speak life and grace and forgiveness.  Jesus goes out, He comes down, He enters into the lives of each broken person.  He lived and he died and He rose for this one and that one and each one, for you and for me. He goes out to speak life and grace and forgiveness.  He goes out to bring health, life, and community.

Jesus goes out with His Word, and His Word is life!
Without it, we suffocate and die and so do our relationships.

But with it-- with His Word, His grace-- our relationships take on new life!  We gather to receive from His hand, and we see that we have enough, truly enough to last for eternity.  We become eager to share, eager to pass the cup that is filled with the living water.  What a blessing, to be part of a community formed by God, fueled by His grace; when people gather together to be seen and to see one another, to love and forgive, to extend grace and encourage each other in the Lord.


Because Jesus goes out, the outcast is taken in, and the beggars are given daily bread.


Sometimes, this Jesus, He scares me.  His giant compassion is terrifying when I see it applied to others, even as I want that compassion for myself.  It scares me because, if I am to walk as He walks, where are my healthy boundaries? How do I know when I can say no? Where CAN I put up the fences and the keep out signs? What if I get too tired and my feet hurt and the people keep coming? How can I assure I will get some rest, have some space, reserve some part of me that is truly MINE, that doesn’t get poured out and remade by this God with this crazy love?


And Jesus doesn’t answer. He doesn’t draw the boundary lines.  He calls us into wide-open spaces, into the vast expanse that is His work in the world.  


But who is this God who calls us?


When the widow used up the flour each day, each day He restored it. When the storm was too much for the disciples, He spoke, and it was still. When Moses lost the strength to pray, He sent Aaron to hold up his hands. When our sin was too much for us, He took it upon Himself and bore it to the grave, burying it forever, that we may be free.


He calls us out, with no guarantees: only the gift of His presence.
Only! As if the provision of this Jesus who goes out and pours His very blood for us were not enough!  


He calls us out, not to BE Jesus, but to be WITH Jesus, to be filled up with and to pass on the grace that He gives.


It is not good for us to be alone, so Jesus gives us Himself, and then He plants us in church families where we can give and receive His gifts together. Do not neglect gathering together with His people!  Yes, those who join you are broken too, and dysfunctional at times. Life in any family is complicated.  Praise God that complicated messy sinners like you and I have a place here, where we are welcomed in, forgiven and fed.


Come in, sit alongside other sinners, and be fed.  Be brought in close by the One who goes out for you.


For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. Ezekiel 34:11-16

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:19-25


Worship times at St. Peter's Eastpointe
Wednesdays at 7pm
Sundays at 8am and 10:30pm


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